Films of Iran

Created on : October 23, 2023 21:51 | Last updated on : January 18, 2024 11:27


The Iranian film business is known as the Cinema of Iran or Cinema of Persia. Iranian art films have received notice abroad. Persian is typically the language used in Iranian films, both in writing and speaking.


The Iranian film business is known as the Cinema of Iran or Cinema of Persia. Iranian art films have received notice abroad. Persian is typically the language used in Iranian films, both in writing and speaking.

One of the best movie exporters of the 1990s was Iran, according to praise. According to some reviewers, Iranian cinema has surpassed all other national cinemas in terms of artistic value, drawing comparisons to Italian neorealism and other trends from earlier. In the past 20 years, Iranian film has received recognition from a variety of international film festivals. Iranian motion pictures has received high appreciation from several international film critics as one of the most significant artistic cinemas in the world.

History of Iranian Cinema

The bas-reliefs in Persepolis (about 500 BC) are the earliest known illustrations of historical events in Iran. A flat block of stone or metal is carved or etched away to create a sculpture using the bas-relief technique. The ancient kingdom of the Achaemenids had its center of ceremonial at persepolis, where the figures at Persepolis remain bound by the rules of grammar and syntax of visual language.

About a thousand years later, during the Sassanian era, Iranian visual arts are claimed to have reached their zenith. A sophisticated hunting scenario is depicted in a bas-relief from this era found near Taq Bostan, in western Iran. Similar paintings from the time have been discovered to very skillfully articulate movements and actions. Persian art kept on its artistic traditions even after the country converted to Islam from Zoroastrianism. Great instances of such persistent endeavors can be seen in Persian miniatures. Persian miniatures' purposeful lack of perspective allowed the artist to incorporate multiple plots and subplots into a single image. Pardeh Khani was a particularly well-liked style of this type of painting. Naqqali is another form of art that belongs to the same category.Before the invention of cinema, the theatrical performance arts of Iran included Marionette, Saye-bazi (shadow plays), Rouhozi (comical acts), and Ta'zieh.

 Early Persian Cinema:

The first five years of the 20th century saw the introduction of film to Persia. The first Persian filmmaker was Muzaffar al-Din Shah, who ruled Persia from 1896 until 1907. His official photographer was Mirza Ebrahim Khan Akkas Bashi. Following a trip to Paris in July 1900, Akkas Bashi acquired a camera and, on the Shah's instructions, videotaped the Shah's trip to Europe. He allegedly recorded the Shah's private and religious rituals, but no copies of these films are still in existence. Khan Baba Motazedi, another early figure in Iranian motion picture photography, emerged a few years after Akkas Bashi began his photographic career. He captured a sizable amount of newsreel footage from the Pahlavi dynasty to the Qajar era.

In Tehran in 1904, Mirza Ebrahim Khan Sahaf Bashi conducted the first-ever public screening of film in Iran. The screening was set up at the rear of his antique store. The nation's capital Cheragh Gaz Avenue saw the debut of a cinema theater in 1905 thanks to Sahaf Bashi. Russi Khan lost his support in 1909 with the demise of Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar, the heir of Mozaffar ad-Din Shah Qajar, and the triumph of the constitutionalists.

The crowd as a result trashed his film theater and photographic studios. Other Tehran movie theaters soon followed by closing. With the aid of Armenian-Iranian Ardeshir Khan, movie theaters started to open once more in 1912. The first film theater in Tehran was established in 1904 by Mirza Ebrahim Khan Sahhafbashi. In 1929, the cinematographic camera was brought to Iran as yet another modernization instrument. After Mirza Ebrahim Khan, several people attempted to open new movie theaters in Tehran, including Russi Khan, Ardeshir Khan, and Ali Vakili. There were just 15 theaters in Tehran and 11 in other regions during the beginning of the 1930s. Ovanes Ohanian decided to build Iran's first film school in 1925. In less than five years he was successful in running the school's inaugural session under the name "Parvareshgahe Artistiye Cinema"

 1930s and 1940s:

In 1930 the first Iranian silent film was made by Professor Ovanes Ohanian called Abi and Rabi. Haji Agha, his second picture, was released in 1933. The first Iranian sound picture, Lor Girl, directed by Abdolhossein Sepanta, was released in 1933 in two Tehran theaters, Mayak and Sepah.  Later, Sepanta would go on to make films like Black Eyes, which depicted Nader Shah's conquest of India, Ferdowsi, which told the life story of Iran's most renowned epic poet, Shirin and Farhad. He directed Laili and Majnoon in 1937, an Eastern love story akin to Romeo and Juliet in English.

Esmail Koushan and Farrokh Ghaffari, two hardworking individuals, are largely responsible for the development of the Iranian cinema industry today. Ghaffari created the groundwork for alternative and commercial films in Iran by founding the first National Iranian Film Society in 1949 at the Iran Bastan Museum and planning the first Film Week during which English films were screened. Early Iranian filmmakers like Esmail Koushan and Abdolhossein Sepantacapitalized on the depth of Persian literature and ancient mythology. They stressed ethics and humanism in their work.

 Post-revolutionary cinema:

In the early 1970s, a New Iranian Cinema emerged (cinema motefävet). However, some performers and filmmakers fled the country after the Revolution in 1979 because of new laws. A hundred or more movies were released between 1979 and 1985. The few films Iran that were made while Khomeini's restrictions persisted emphasized sexual exhibition and European influence.

In 1982, the annual Fajr Film Festival financed films. The Farabi Cinema Foundation then intervened to attempt to put the chaotic cinema back together. The government started offering financial assistance the next year. A completely new generation of filmmakers, including female film directors, were inspired by the government shift. With this, the emphasis switched to depicting youngsters overcoming challenges using real-life issues, poetry, mystical drama, film documentaries, etc.

Many international forums and festivals have praised post-revolutionary Iranian film for its distinctive style, subjects, writers, sense of national identity, and cultural allusions. Beginning with Khosrow Sinai's "Viva," several outstanding Iranian filmmakers have arisen in the previous few decades, including Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi. When he won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 for Taste of Cherry, Kiarostami—who some critics consider to be one of the few truly great film directors in the history of cinema firmly established Iran as a major player in the global film industry.
By the year 2001 the number of feature film produced in Iran rose to 87 (from 28, which is the number of films that were produced in 1980, after the fall of the Shah). The most popular genres were melodramas and historical pageants which seldom went to film festivals. In 1997, the newly elected president, Mohammed Khatami, would eventually come to play a role in helping filmmakers achieve a certain degree of artistic freedom.

Contemporary Iranian Cinema

Iranian commercial films currently dominate Iran's box office. Movie theaters infrequently screen western movies. and state television broadcasts current Hollywood film productions. Iranian art movies are frequently not screened in public but can still be watched on illegal DVDs that are readily accessible. Some of these well-regarded movies were shown in Iran and were financially successful. Examples include "I'm Taraneh, 15" by Rassul Sadr Ameli, "Under the Skin of the City" by Rakhshan Bani-Etemad, "Marooned in Iraq" by Bahman Ghobadi, and "Women's Prison" by Manijeh Hekmat.

Commercial Cinema In Iran:

Iranian films with international recognition are very different from those with a home focus. The latter targets a very different group of people, most of whom are under 25. Due to the films' focus on regional viewers, this commercial Iranian cinema genre is virtually unknown to Western audiences.

Iranian New Wave Film:

Iranian New Wave is the name of a recent cinematic movement in Iran. The House Is Black, a celebrated documentary created by Forough Farrokhzad, a well-known Iranian poet and director, opened the door for the Iranian New Wave Cinema, claims cinema critic Eric Henderson. The trend began in 1964 with Hajir Darioush's second film Serpent's Skin, which starred Fakhri Khorvash and Jamshid Mashayekhi and was based on D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover. The New Wave became well-established as a prominent cultural, dynamic, and intellectual trend. The Iranian film audience became discriminating, encouraging the new trend to prosper and develop.

Iranian Art Film:

There is a so-called popular art cinema in Iran, which runs parallel to the Iranian New Wave with its neorealist and minimalist art film. This group of filmmakers believes that their work is aesthetically sound and appeals to a wider audience than the small group of well-educated individuals who respect the New Wave.

Iranian Women’s Film:

Following the success of the Iranian New Wave Cinema, Iran currently has a record number of film school graduates, and more than 20 new filmmakers, many of them women, release their first films every year. In the previous two decades, Iran has had a larger proportion of female directors than the majority of Western nations.

Marjane Satrapi in 2008 Nominated Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year Award. In 2006, became a member of the Cannes Film festival Jury.

In 1998, Samira Makhmalbaf won the Sutherland Trophy at the BFI London Film Festival, the International Critics Award at the Locarno Film Festival, the Federico Fellini Medal from UNESCO in Paris in 2000, the Special Jury Prize at the San Sebastian International Film Festival in 2008, the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury in 2003, and the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.

Tahmineh Milani in 2001 won Best Artistic Contribution Cairo International Film Festival and three awards Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay in the Asia Pacific Film Festival in 2006, and Best Film Award in the Los Angeles Film Festival for The Unwanted Woman Movie in 2005.

Pouran Derakhshandeh in 2013 won the Best Film Award in the London Iranian Film Festival and the Crystal Simorgh Audience Award at Best Film Fajr Festival. In 1986 received the Special Jury Award Giffoni Film Festival.

Several award-winning Iranian actors with distinctive styles and talents also draw criticism in addition to women who work in screenplay and film production. Mary Apick was the first Iranian actress to be recognized for her performance at significant film festivals.

Iranian Animated Films:

Some evidence points to the existence of animation in ancient Iran. A 5000-year-old animated sculpture of a clay cup was discovered at Burnt City, in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan, in southeast Iran. A goat that leaps at a tree and consumes its leaves has been depicted by the artist.

Four decades after Iran's animated film production began, the inaugural Tehran International Animation Festival took place in 1999. In February 2001, the Second Tehran International Animation Festival took place. Along with Iranian movies, the festival featured cartoons from 35 other nations.

Iranian War Films:

The start of the Iran-Iraq War coincided with the birth of war films in Iran. However, it took many years before it was able to define elements of Iranian war cinema and find its identity. The 1990 film In the Alleys of Love by Khosrow Sinai, which depicts the most poetic view of the Iran–Iraq War, is still regarded as one of the best depictions of this historical event from a humanistic perspective, even though it faced more challenges in film production than other Iranian war movies that have the full support of the Iranian government. In the past decades, the Iranian film industry has produced many war films. In the Iranian war film genre, war has often been portrayed as glorious and "holy", bringing out the good in the protagonist and pandering to nationalist sentiments with propagandistic messaging. Tears of Cold and Duel were two films that have gone beyond the traditional view of war.

Children and Youth Films:

Although there were earlier attempts, the renowned filmmaker Mohammad Ali Talebi (born 1958) is considered to be the father of Iranian children's and youth movies. He began his career in the 1980s, and Abbas Kiarostami's scripts for Willow and Wind (2000) and Bag of Rice (1997) helped him find popularity outside of Iran.
Producing films aimed at kids and teens, in Talebi's opinion, was a service to "the most fragile and vulnerable of the Iranian society." He developed some skepticism regarding Iranian children's and youth films in the 2010s, and in 2018 he relocated to Slovakia.

Major Film Festivals of Iran

There is an extensive history of Iranian Film Festivals dating back to the 1950s. In April 1973, the inaugural Tehran International Film Festival began. The festival succeeded in establishing itself as a class-A festival even if it never attained the stature of Cannes and Venice. It was a very respectable festival, and several renowned filmmakers participated with their works. The festival's prizes were given to outstanding directors including Francesco Rosi, Michelangelo Antonioni, Grigori Kozintsev, Elizabeth Taylor, Pietro Germi, Nikita Mikhalkov, Krzysztof Zanussi, and Martin Ritt.

Fajr Film Festival:

Since 1983, the Fajr International Film Festival has been held. From the beginning, it was planned to be as amazing and beautiful as possible. It aspired to stay on the same path and had a history just as significant as the Tehran International Film Festival. Despite not yet being considered one of the best film festivals, the Fajr Film Festival has been effective in establishing guidelines and providing models for Iranian cinema's future.

Roshd International Film Festival:

Iran's Ministry of Education's Bureau of Audio-Visual Activities initially held the Roshd International Film Festival in 1963. It is presented annually by the Supplying Educational Media Center, a division of the Iranian Ministry of Education, and is focused on movies having educational and pedagogical themes. The Festival's major goals are to find and choose the greatest instructional and pedagogical movies and present them to educational systems.

Iranian Film Festival Zurich:

The goal of the Iranian Film Festival of Zürich (IFFZ) is to bridge the cultural divide between Iranians and Swiss people as well as foreigners who reside in Switzerland. By bringing to Zürich the greatest feature film, film documentaries, and short films from Iranian filmmakers, the festival also hopes to support the host nation. The IFFZ hopes that this will serve as a film platform for showcasing Iranian culture and history and help to forge connections between the numerous cultures represented in this great city of Zürich through the film, which is considered the seventh art. Iranian film festival.

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